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I'm Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,748 ratings  ·  330 reviews
From the creator of the blog "Renegade Mothering," Janelle Hanchett's forthright, darkly funny, and ultimately empowering memoir chronicling her tumultuous journey from young motherhood to abysmal addiction and a recovery she never imagined possible.

Pregnant at 21 by a man she'd known three months, Janelle Hanchett embraced motherhood with the determined optimism of the r
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Hachette Books
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Lea Grover
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I got my ARC I was ridiculously excited to get started, and I devoured this book in a matter of hours.

There is only one word that comes to mind just described "I'm Just Happy to Be Here": ruthless. This book is utterly ruthless.

Janelle Hanchett isn't just writing about alcoholism and addiction and motherhood and insecurity and faithlessness and faithfulness and love and tragedy and loss and redemption, more than anything this is a book about ego and hubris, and humility.

I'm not an alcoholic
Jena Henry
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes we read a book for fun, such as a book we take to the beach. Sometimes we choose a book because we are in the mood for something scary, or we like to solve mysteries, or we want to learn more about ancient China. And there are times that a book calls to us. "Read me so you can witness a life that seems so different from your own. So you can see what torment and suffering is. And so you can learn to love more."

I'm Happy Just to be Here is a great title for a book written by a young woma
***directly after reading***
I'm a bit emotional right now so this will be a mess. And I want to say I'll edit this at a later date... But I won't. So errors will be made.

I hate (and kinda despite) people who say 'this book wasn't written for me'. Mostly I hate those kind of people because it implies that an author was obligated to write something for everyone (I've seen this most with people who are part of a minority). But just because a book wasn't written with you as the target audience in th
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate to read an advance copy of I'm Just Happy to Be Here. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny book. Janelle's is a coming of age story but also coming of family and coming of hope.

I read this book in one sitting.
I am not a former drug addict. I am not a recovering alcoholic. I also don't have four kids. But somehow this book resonated with me on so many levels.

Having known Janelle since 2010, and having been a reader of her blog, Renegade Mothering, since its inception, I'm used to her blunt, often abrasive language. And that's one of the reasons I love reading her work--blog, Facebook post, or otherwise. She tells it like it is and it's refreshing. This book is reminiscent of her blog, but less in-your
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yo-yo-ing between bouts of sobriety & inebriation, but always depressed, Janelle is loud with hints of Janet Capron’s wild side and the harsh but oft sarcastic tones of Myriam Gurba. Here's a stellar self-deprecating memoir of mistakes while growing up, struggling under postpartum grief, and holding on to oneself (or not) while becoming/being a mother. Janelle’s stark skepticism, her innate ability to question everything (especially when religious leaders don’t have answers)— was highly appealin ...more
I feel really horrible for ditching on this one and giving it a low rating, simply because Janelle has obviously dealt with major addiction issues and (I assume) has finally found a way to tame those demons and find redemption. I’m very glad she has, and I wish her well. However, I found the book very repetitive and I reached a point where I just didn’t want to go through the cycle with her yet again: nearly lose everything through addiction, blame others, come clean, have a kid to encourage sob ...more
Amy Smith
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the privilege of receiving an advance reader copy of this book and devoured it in three days. It is different than what I expected. Janelle is humorous and irreverent and sometimes even aggressive on her blog, and that is why many of us fell in love with her writing and her online persona. But this book delves deep into her past and her mind and her addiction. It is delicate at times and raucous at others but it carries us through her journey in a beautiful and heartb ...more
Vikki Reich
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of the best memoirs I've read in a long time. Not only in the story compelling, but the writing is beautiful. Though this is a book about addiction and motherhood, it goes beyond that to the universal struggles we all face - finding our place in the world, figuring out who we are, being accountable for our flaws and mistakes, and learning to embrace the hard parts of life with as much grace as we do the easy parts. This book has stayed with me long after I finished it.

This quot
Carli Hess
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I needed this book. I didn't realize it, but I did. I needed its candor and darkness, its humor and shock, and most especially its sheer humanity. I am convinced that there is a piece of Janelle's story in all of us as mothers, daughters, addicts, and lovers of addicts. There were so many moments that I lost my breath and had to reread the line I had just read because I could have written it. There is something so healing in realizing that you are just not alone. I am not an addict, but addictio ...more
Stephany Snell
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to receive an Advanced Copy of ‘I’m Just Happy To Be Here’ by Janelle Hanchett which is a brutally honest, raw and uncut story of the author’s struggles with addiction and mental illness and just plain adulting. She holds nothing back as she lays out her biggest mistakes and deepest regrets for us all to see and takes us down to the bottom while some how managing to still be relatable. I admit, I’m a sucker for a good hot mess story but, I think, what sets ‘I’m Just Happy To B ...more
Jeffrey Rosenberg
I knew nothing of Janelle’s story until now, but have become inspired by how she made it through and emerged in a place of love, honesty and gritty humor. All I know now is that I must find a “Good News Jack” in my life! This book gave me a lot more perspective on my family, sobriety and all of our journeys to find love and know ourselves, warts and all. I would recommend it to anyone who could use a good kick towards introspection and want to hear a story of real survival, but want the real ver ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really tried to be sympathetic towards the author and her addiction struggles, but I just couldn’t. Her better-than-everyone personality and the way in which she treated people made me not like her as a person. I felt like her writing was all over the place and that she kept repeating herself. I just wanted the book to end but needed to finish it because it was for book club.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Janelle’s blog and was excited to get an advance copy of her book. It did not disappoint. Her journey is an amazing story filled with sorrow and hope and desperation and thankfully there is joy too. Her writing is honest and sincere and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Grace O'Connor
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Janelle Hanchett’s I’m Just Happy to Be Here is an affecting, heart-breaking story of addiction and the familial ties that somehow manage to simultaneously constrict and save us. It is an unflinching account of a new mother’s plummet into drug and alcohol addiction.
Hanchett’s memoir is most arresting when she writes the awful truth of parenting while addicted. She describes her efforts to deliver her five-year old daughter, Ava, to a birthday party. ““Hey, Ava, let’s pick something out of your
Nancy Kho
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a read. Janelle's searingly honest, unflinching memoir of her life as an addict, a mom, the dark period of her life where those two roles collided, and her hard, courageous slog out is riveting. She unites self-awareness with deep, informed compassion for anyone who's gone through addiction struggles, and especially for the parents trying to be there for their children while fighting their demons. "I'm Just Happy To Be Here" is beautiful writing, and a story that will linger long past the f ...more
Jen Hamilton
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm Just Happy to Be Here is so much more than an addiction memoir and a story of motherhood. It's not about how to achieve happiness or reaching some end point. It's not just for drunks or moms or drunk moms. It's for all of us. The book begins as a love story and really remains a love story throughout, if only you adjust your expectations of what a love story is. And adjusting expectations is really what this book is about. With incredibly raw candor and humor, Hanchett takes us through her jo ...more
Scottie Vosburgh
I am not typically a reader of "mommy blogs", though I have followed Janelle's blog, Renegade Mothering, for years. I have always loved that she says what lots of us are feeling about parenthood. She knows what is feels like to love your children with ever fiber of your being and also be deeply annoyed, inconvenienced and disappointed about motherhood (plus she says the "F" word a lot and I can appreciate that when discussing offspring).

I'm Just Happy to Be Here chronicles Janelle's journey to
John Hanley
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have followed the blog, @renegademothering, written by this book’s author, Janelle Hanchett, for several years now, and have found it to be a delight in its refusal to accept tired cliches about being a parent, even or especially to the point where she invites her readers to join her in “the fight against helpful parenting advice.” I mean, to my mind how can you not love an author who is that willing to call BS when she sees or hears it? And the fact that it does so in explicitly profane terms ...more
Stephanie Jankowski
So, I really want to write something profound and meaningful that expresses how I feel about this book, about Janelle's story. I want to use exactly the right words that evoke exactly the right emotion, and leave no detail out, but truthfully? I'm having a hard time. Because how do you review someone's life? The bravery it takes to share the ugly underbelly of broken mental health and addiction and abandoning one's own children? This story is a gut-punch because it's so true. It's raw, and if yo ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievable that author Janelle Hanchett was able to come out on the other side of her addictions, but she did. Fascinating memoir of her addiction, quest for sobriety and ability to pull her family back together. Janelle also has the website Renegade Mothering - more of her honest writing! Hard to read and to put down.
Rhiannon Giles
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been following Janelle's blog,, for years. When I heard she had a book coming out, I was patiently-ish waiting the release date. And then I got my hands on an advance reader copy, so I did not have to pretend to be patient anymore.

I read the book in just a couple of days. And if you have small kids at home, you'll totally understand why that is quite the accomplishment. Side note: if you have small kids at home, you'll probably love this book. Unless you're the type of
Rita Arens
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Janelle's story is a shocker, both for its rock-bottom and for its normal. I volunteered to be on the launch team for her memoir, I'M JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE, because after putting out a book about mental illness myself, I get how scary that is. Not only are you sort of laying yourself bare as a writer, you're exposing to the Instagram world what mental illness really feels like. Janelle's story is one of addiction and recovery, but I recognized in her writing a lot of the same rage I've felt at t
Leah Colby
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspiring-people
This is NOT the book I thought it was going to be. Yes, there are parenting parts that we can relate to, however, this is about her gut wrenching journey with addiction, alcoholism and her ego driven ride that tells her “I’ve got this all under control”. She takes you by the hand and dives into her self-created hell and makes you feel the regret, the shame and desperation. Janelle takes the word vulnerable and puts it in ALL CAPS. I kept thinking to myself “she did not just do that”, and then “o ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the heart-breakingly beautiful story of motherhood through the messiness and disasters of alcoholism. It's the hero's journey that is hitting rock bottom and realizing that no one is going to save you except yourself, it is a memoir of "recklessness, rehab, and renegade mothering." It is balm for the soul and a reminder of our solidarity as women and mothers and humans in this messy life.

Here's an example of why I am in love with the way Janelle Hanchett writes:

"I suppose some of us don'
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book moved me throughout the entire read. It also validated so much of my experience as a girl, wife, mother, and also as a human who feels wired a little bit differently from the rest of humanity. It was laugh-out-loud funny at the darkest parts, which I’ve learned is my litmus test for stellar writing – gut me and then make me laugh about the fact that I’m lying here bleeding to death. I am not an addict nor alcoholic, but damn if I don’t understand the inner-workings of these lost people ...more
Abbie Burkhart
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book resonates. It resonates if you're a mom or an addict or your sister is an addict or if, when you listen to The Dead and Dylan, you feel that feeling deep in your soul. It's resonates if you're a human being with feelings (or a human being without feelings but they're really there, they're just buried down deep). It resonates if you've been to therapy or you've had a trauma or you've created a trauma in someone else.

This is a story of triumph but not your average fail once or twice, ge
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the strongest voices in my parenting journey has been that of Janelle Hanchett, the hilarious and profane author of the Renegade Mothering blog. The appeal of the blog is its fierce rejection of the beatific cult of motherhood and its earthy exploration of the realities of parenting. While that alone is enough to attract many readers, one of the more compelling aspects of Renegade Mothering is her past as a self-destructive alcoholic and addict, which gives Ms. Hanchett a humility that ha ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is truly a fantastic read!
One of those books that, once you pick it up, you just don't want to put it down.
I laughed, I cried, the writing is fantastic. I would recommend this book to women & mothers & people in recovery - but also, people who feel connected to the human condition of being alive & how we are all just trying to find our way through this thing called life.
Jordan Burnett
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Janelle’s account of the road to the bottom of alcoholism and the life that comes after is not only compelling but brutally honest. The moments she describes in the darkest places are palatable and transformative. The beautiful life she has built out of the ruins of addiction is infinitely inspiring. As a seasoned reader of her blog the stories were familiar but I found myself falling in love with the people in her stories all over again. The power of losing your ego and the strength you can fin ...more
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Janelle Hanchett created the website "Renegade Mothering" in 2011 because she needed to know if the rest of the mothering world was crazy or she was. Writing after her kids went to bed and while she was supposed to be working, Janelle attracted an audience of hundreds of thousands of readers. She holds a BA in English from University of California at Davis and an MA in English literature from Sacr ...more

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